Monthly Archives April 2013

TOY DRONES USED AS SPACE CRAFT

Drone ‘space ship’ app to help

robots on future missions

The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0.

European Space Agency scientists have developed a smartphone app that turns a toy drone into a virtual spacecraft on a mission to dock with the International Space Station, and uses crowd-sourced data from its manoeuvres to improve artificial intelligence on future missions.

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The free AstroDrone app for the iPhone and iPad allows owners of the French-built Parrot A.R — an advanced mini drone that flies around with the aid of four rotors — to simulate a docking with the ISS, a task until now only done by astronauts.

Playing this game turns you into a real astronaut – it feels like you are in space.  

Guido de Croon, ESA’s Advance Concepts Team research fellow

As the drone, which cost around 300 euros ...

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HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS QUESTION THE USE OF WARFARE KILLER DRONES

In a letter to US President Barack Obama, America’s leading human rights organisations have questioned the legal basis for targeted killing and called for an end to the secrecy surrounding the use of drones.

The ”statement of shared concern” said the administration should ”publicly disclose key targeted killing standards and criteria; ensure that US lethal force operations abroad comply with international law; enable meaningful Congressional oversight and judicial review; and ensure effective investigations, tracking and response to civilian harm”.

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The nine-page letter, signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, and several other groups, is the most significant critique by advocacy gro...

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VIEWING THE EYE OF A VOLCANO AS SEEN BY A DRONE

MILITARY DRONE USED TO VIEW VOLCANO IN COTS RICA

Getting information on volcanic plumes can be perilous work: the unbearable heat; the noxious gas; the jagged terrain.

So NASA found a new way to avoid putting its researchers in danger – military drones.

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Last month, NASA researchers sent three drones into a sulphur dioxide plume emitted by Costa Rica’s 3200-metre Turrialba volcano. The team, led by David Pieri of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, launched 10 flights with the 2.7-kilogram, twin-electric-engine Dragon Eye planes.

The drones recorded video and collected data using several remote-sensing instruments, sulphur dioxide and particle sensors and automatic atmospheric sampling bottles that measure sulphur dioxide concentration.

”Scientists believe compute...

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MITSUBISHI RELEASES ITS LATEST RADIATION INSPECTION ROBOT

 RADIATION INSPECTION ROBOT BY MITSUBISHI RELEASED

Over the past few weeks, Japan has unveiled robotic exoskeletons and quadrupeds designed to work in radioactive areas, and today Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has revealed its own inspection and maintenance robot. The MHI-MEISTeR (Maintenance Equipment Integrated System of Telecontrol Robot) has two arms which can be equipped with various tools to remove obstacles and collect samples in areas where people cannot go.



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The MHI-MEISTeR’s arms are designed to bend much like a human arm with seven degrees of freedom apiece, and each is capable of lifting up to 15 kg (33 pounds)...

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NUCLEAR POWER STATION RADIATION ROBOT INSPECTOR RELEASED BY TOSHIBA

TOSHIBA NUCLEAR POWER STATION ROBOTIC RADIATOR INSPECTOR

Toshiba has unveiled a four-legged inspection robot, which will carry out work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where people cannot go. The newly developed robot – simply called a Quadruped walking robot – comes equipped with a smaller wheeled robot that can be deployed to navigate hard-to-reach areas. The legged robot can negotiate stairs, uneven terrain, and is able to avoid low-lying obstacles.
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The TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was severely damaged in the tsunami that occurred immediately following the the earthquake of March 11, 2011. Parts of the plant have been decommissioned but still contain unspent nuclear fuel which gives off lethal radiation, so robots are being used to check things out...

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HIGHRISE BUILDINGS STRUCTURAL DAMAGE CHECKS BY SAM THE ROBOTIC DRONE IN THIS VIDEO

HIGHRISE BUILDINGS STRUCTURE CHECKS BY ROBOTIC DRONE SAM

If you were responsible for the upkeep of a 20-story-tall building, you wouldn’t just stand on the ground and look up at it to see if it needed any structural repairs. Instead you’d hire a building inspection service, which would lower inspectors down the side of the building on a swing stage or bosun chair, like window cleaners use. The folks at FTD Highrise Inspection, however, are now using something that they claim is a superior alternative – a highrise-inspecting robot they created, called SAM.



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The robot doesn’t actually cling to the side of the building like Spider-Man, but instead uses a roof-mounted custom rigging system...

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REMOTE CONTROLLED ROBOTIC SEARCH & RESCUE VEHICLE FROM CANADA

CANADIAN ROBOTS TO CARRY OUT SEARCH & RESCUE MISSIONS

Canada-based robotics company Clearpath Robotics has unveiled the aptly-named Grizzly Robot Utility Vehicle: an unmanned four wheel drive robotic platform that promises to tackle the most demanding agricultural, mining, and defense tasks you can throw at it, whatever the terrain.

The yellow and black vehicle features four 26 inch (66 cm) all-terrain tires, and a front axle with 16 degrees articulation. This, coupled with an 8-inch (20 cm) clearance, allows the Grizzly to navigate obstacles of up to 6 inches (15 cm), while all four wheels still remain firmly on the ground.
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Grizzly is powered forward by an 80-horsepower (60 kW) electric motor, and its drivetrain offers a maximum drawbar pull of 6,300 N (1,400 pound-force)...

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PARS RESCUE DRONES AT SEA DROP OFF GEAR TO VICTIM

LIFELINE PARS SEA DRONES DROP OFF SAFETY GEAR IN RESCUE

If current technology trends are any indication, it’s possible that human lifeguards could be replaced by robots in the future. So far, we’ve seen a remote-controlled rescue buoy and a salamander-like bot that travels on both water and land, among many others. Rather than having to cut through rough water to get to folks in trouble like many search and rescue robot designs, an Iranian research center proposes a quadcopter called Pars that launches from a floating platform and drops life preservers precisely where they’re needed.

RTS Lab began developing Pars to address the high number of drowning victims in the Caspian Sea along the Iranian coastline...

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BIONICOPTER DRAGONFLY DRONE BY GERMAN ENGINEERING

THE SUPERB ANTICS OF AN ARTIFICIAL DRAGONFLY DRONE VIDEO

The dragonfly is quite the show off when it comes to flying. It can hover in mid-air, maneuver in all directions, and glide without so much as a beat of its wings. After succeeding in capturing the essence of a herring gull with the SmartBird, the folks over at German pneumatic and electric automation company Festo challenged themselves with the creation of a robotic addition to the dragonfly family – the BionicOpter.



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Even the largest member of the Odonata clan (a damselfly named Megaloprepus caerulatus) is no match for Festo’s dragonfly-inspired BionicOpter. Its 63 cm (24.8-inch) wingspan almost puts it in the same league as the long extinct Meganeura, though thankfully minus the latter’s reported app...

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